Lifetime Giving Societies
Created in 2009, the Lifetime Giving Society recognizes donors for cumulative gifts to Catholic Charities totaling $500,000 or more. Members receive the benefits of the Founder’s Circle including an invitation to a private event with Cardinal Wilton Gregory of the Archdiocese of Washington, as well as other forms of unique and special recognition for these extraordinary levels of generosity.
$500,000 + Monsignor O’Grady Society
Credited with founding the Catholic Charities movement in the United States, Monsignor John O’Grady served as the secretary of the National Conference of Catholic Charities until retiring at age 75 in 1961. He was a fierce advocate for the poor and developed the idea for a national program of social welfare in the Catholic Church, growing from a local parish model to the national level.
Monsignor O’Grady worked tirelessly on behalf of the aged, the poor, inspired neighborhood involvement in the Catholic Charities, and fought for immigration policy change. He played a significant role in the settlement of thousands of displaced Latin Americans following WWII.
$1 million + James Cardinal Hickey Society
Beginning in 1980 and continuing for 20 years, Cardinal James Hickey led the Archdiocese during a time of profound growth for Catholic Charities. He was instrumental in founding new programs for the poor, deepening the connection between social responsibility and religious principles in the Washington, D.C., area.
Cardinal Hickey was responsible for creating a continuum of care through specialized services for an increasingly ethnically diverse Archdiocese. He built new schools and renovated churches, greatly expanding service ministries. He focused intently on outreach to the Hispanic community. During his tenure, the Archdiocese created hallmark programs including Victory Housing, The Birthing and Care Center (Sanctuaries for Life), the Archdiocesan Health Care Network, and the Legal Networks (Immigration Legal Services and Catholic Charities Legal Network).
$5 million + Pope Francis Society
Pope Francis is known for his deep commitment to serving the poor and marginalized, selecting his name to honor Saint Francis of Assisi who was particularly concerned with the well-being of the poor. He has encouraged the Catholic Church to be more welcoming and understanding, advocating that the most powerful message of Jesus Christ is mercy. In March 2015, Pope Francis announced the universal church would celebrate a Jubilee Year, from Dec. 8, 2015, to Nov. 20, 2016, dedicated to the theme of God’s mercy, vowing to perform several acts that reflect God’s mercy.
Pope Francis is outspoken about his views on poverty, calling on world leaders to prevent excessive monetary ambitions, provide more equity in economic distribution and more welfare aid. He was quoted as saying “extreme poverty and unjust economic structures that cause great inequalities are violations of human rights.”
Pope Francis continues to call us to serve others, have interfaith dialogue, and to help those most in need. “Each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor, and for enabling them to be fully a part of society. This demands that we be docile and attentive to the cry of the poor and to come to their aid.”
Tara M. Arras, CFRE
Chief Development Officer
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington